Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion

Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In 2018, the Jackson School successfully finished it’s latest school wide 10-year strategic plan, “Earth Transitions in Space and Time.” The Strategic Plan identifies the vision, objectives, priority areas and roadmap for success of the school’s enterprises over the next 10 years. The plan includes broader impacts for equity and inclusiveness on pages 18-20.

The broader impacts for equity and inclusiveness will focus on broadening the societal impact of the Jackson School of Geosciences research and teaching by increasing diversity within the Jackson School and the geosciences and geoscience literacy of citizens and policymakers.

Responsibility for implementing this plan primarily resides with the JSG Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, the Director of Outreach and Diversity/Office of Broader Impacts and the Dean.

Goal: Broaden the societal impact of the research and teaching of its faculty and research scientists by broadening participation in the geosciences and increasing the geoscience literacy of citizens and policy makers.

Strategy 1: Create an integrated program for Broader Impacts of Geoscience Research (BIGR) to assist faculty, research scientists, students, alumni and staff with broader impacts. Develop “broader impact” groups for dissemination of societal impact of research, broadening participation, and citizen geoscience literacy.

Action Items:

  • Assist faculty and research scientists with broader impacts requirements for research proposals by advising them of ways to integrate their efforts with current programs or by developing new initiatives.
  • Assist student organizations with broader impacts programming.
  • Increase dissemination of societally important research to increase public understanding and awareness of the geosciences.=
  • Award mini-grants for broader impacts initiatives.
  • Offer regular broader impacts workshops for faculty 40 days from submission deadlines.
  • Implement science cafes for different demographic groups at the groups’ location or participate in already established ones;
  • Develop a JSG BIGR (Broader Impacts of Geoscience Research) lightning talks speaking tour;
  • Create traveling ESI Hot Science, Cool Talks related to current events affected by the geosciences and/ or broadcast current talks in selected locations;
  • Increase distribution of podcasts that present current initiatives such as Hot Science, Cool Talks and lightning talks by JSG geoscience researchers and faculty; create a geoscience of the U.S. and geoscience of the world podcasts for targeted distribution;
  • Increase involvement of students in outreach to local schools. For example, implement JSG student geoscience factoids campaigns with independent school districts; disseminate the Science Y’all blog widely;
  • Lead tours of facilities and demonstrate research.
  • Develop more awareness of geology in Texas and areas of research. Increase the coverage of the BEG Texas GeoSign Project “geology of place” signage initiative; work with park officials to create signs or brochures in areas of JSG research.
  • Create a Geology of the National Parks smartphone app based on GeoFORCE and other JSG field guides.
  • Update “Be A Geo” website, brochure, and posters for use with “Earth is Calling” and continue to promote and disseminate widely. Work with FANS group to encourage alumni to speak to students in STEM high school academies with a significant number of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Create an alumni mentor program for students who are high achievers in STEM in schools with a significant number of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Expand the JSG commitment to engaging and serving state and federal legislators, such as attendance at Congressional Science Visits Days, the BEG-led Decision Makers Field Trip, and invitations for laboratory and site visits and major events (e.g., building openings and major lab openings, etc.).

Measures of Success

  • Increased number of successful broader impacts sections in proposals.
  • Increased number of opportunities and assistance for writing meaningful and easy-to-implement broader impacts in grant proposals.
  • Increased number of broader impacts statements with clearly defined budgets, impacts and outcomes.
  • Increased number of opportunities for the JSG community to increase the geoscience literacy of citizens and policy makers.

Strategy 2: Increase the number of opportunities for JSG faculty, researchers and students to engage with diverse geoscience faculty, researchers and students.

Action Items:

Establish a Jackson School Distinguished Speaker award designed to promote the travel of a JSG faculty member or scientist to minority-serving institutions.

Create a visiting geoscientists series for and hosted by JSG student groups to invite geoscience faculty and researchers from HBCUs, MSIs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges and other diverse institutions.

Form partnerships with national organizations and other colleges and universities that promote equity and inclusion in the geosciences.

Measures of Success

  • Increased collaborations between Jackson School and HBCU, HSI, MSI, and Tribal College faculty and researcher scientists.
  • Increased HBCU, HSI, MSI, and Tribal Colleges students familiarity with JSG faculty and research scientists.
  • Increased JSG community engagement with diverse geoscience faculty, research scientists, and students

Strategy 3: Increase the number of underrepresented students enrolled in JSG at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Action Items:

  • Work with university admissions to recruit cohorts of underrepresented high school students to the geosciences who have expressed an interest in chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology or geology.
  • Create opportunities for JSG summer research and field experiences for undergraduates and faculty from HBCUs, HSIs, MSIs, Tribal Colleges and two-year colleges with high proportions of underrepresented students.
  • Invite undergraduate seniors from HBCUs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges, and MSIs with geoscience departments or classes and GeoFORCE/ STEMFORCE undergraduate seniors graduating in sciences and geosciences to a JSG Graduate School Fall Open House hosted by JSG graduate students.
  • Host invitational workshops for underrepresented geoscience senior undergraduates and graduate students on proposal writing, teaching, research, and publishing/writing.
  • Recruit and admit cohorts of underrepresented students for graduate school.

Measures of Success

  • Increased applications to the undergraduate major in the Jackson School from high schools with high achieving economically disadvantaged students.
  • Increased number of students from minority serving institutions applying to, being admitted to and accepting admission to Jackson School undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  • Increased national recognition as a destination of choice for diversity and inclusion.
  • Increased number of underrepresented students interested in chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology applying to, being admitted to and accepting admission to Jackson School undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  • Increased faculty consideration for graduate admission and admission to graduate school of GeoFORCE alum, STEMFORCE alum, and undergraduates from HSIs, HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and MSIs.
  • An increased number of GeoFORCE Texas and/ or STEMFORCE students graduating from college with a major in a STEM field.
  • Increased underrepresented students’ interest in geoscience academic careers.
  • Increased undergraduate and graduate enrollment of underrepresented students.

Strategy 4: Increase the number of underrepresented faculty, research scientists and staff in JSG.

Action Items:

  • Require search committee chairs (and members) to attend training sessions and/or workshops on implicit bias and diversity and inclusive hiring practices.
  • Send faculty and/or research scientist representatives to national STEM conferences focused on equity and inclusion and to other national conferences organized by various demographic groups (e.g., National Association of Black Geologists) to identify potential future faculty and research scientist candidates from their technical talks.
  • Place advertisements for new faculty and research scientist positions in higher education media with African American, Hispanic, American Indian, women, LBTGQ, and veteran audiences.
  • Share staff job opportunities with UT Black Faculty and Staff Association, UT Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association and other campus staff affinity groups.
  • Share open staff positions with African American and Latino professional associations in Central Texas.
  • Share posted faculty, research scientist and staff positions with Chief Diversity Officers’ offices in Texas and bordering states.

Measures of Success

  • Increased diverse faculty, research scientists and staff.
  • Increased early identification of potential future faculty hires from underrepresented and protected groups.
  • Increased equitable and unbiased consideration of faculty candidates from underrepresented groups.

 Strategy 5: Increase the participation of underrepresented groups in geosciences and other STEM fields.

Action Items:

  • Support and strengthen GeoFORCE and STEMFORCE programs, continually evaluating the outcomes at all stages of the students’ pathway, and modifying programs as needed to improve outcomes in a cost-effective way.
  • Evaluate options for increasing GeoFORCE and STEMFORCE students’ calculus, chemistry, and computation abilities prior to college, and potential funding sources. Depending on evaluation, implement Special Edition GeoFORCE Summer Calculus, Chemistry, and Computation Bridging Academies focused on students who have been accepted to JSG and, if financially possible, to other geoscience majors.
  • Expand GeoFORCE Texas to recruit students from STEM High School Academies with significant numbers of economically disadvantaged students.
  • Identify additional funding for GeoFORCE Texas and/or STEMFORCE from supplemental research funding from government and private agencies and other foundation and industry sources.
  • Develop “GeoFORCE”-like summer field experiences for Mexican students from UNAM or other summer field- program exchanges for Mexican and UT Austin students.

Measures of Success

  • Increased desired outcomes from GeoFORCE Texas for all stakeholders in a cost effective way.Increased academic competitiveness of GeoFORCE and STEMFORCE alum
  • Increased diversified funding for GeoFORCE and STEMFORCE.
  • Increased interaction between Jackson School faculty, research scientists, and students and their counterparts from Mexico.

Strategy 6: Provide national leadership in high school and undergraduate geoscience education.

Action Items:

  • Leverage university-wide programs, such as Project 2021, to develop and implement new innovative ways of online education, in-class methods, and experiential learning and showcase these as models at national meetings. Develop additional non-major geoscience courses using active learning and other innovative educational methods.
  • Increase the number of students enrolled in the JSG Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences Option V: Teaching.
  • Use OnRamps relationship to grow online geoscience instruction for HBCUs, MSIs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges and two-year colleges and create a ‘Virtual Department of Geosciences’ for additional online content.
  • Expand the current GeoFORCE in-service professional development for high school science teachers.
  • Expand the current partnership between GeoFORCE and UTeach for providing pre-service geoscience teaching training for undergraduates interning as education coaches on GeoFORCE field learning experiences.
  • Continue the ‘Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education’ initiative efforts to implement changes in undergraduate programs nationally to prepare students for future geoscience careers in conjunction with the American Geoscience Institute (AGI) workforce program.

Identify funds and create a program for geoscience education professional development aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Host geoscience education professional development conferences in the West, Southwest, Midwest, East, and Southeast for current STEM high school teachers and undergraduate STEM education majors. Collaborate with National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) to recruit for the proposed regional geoscience teacher professional development conferences.

Measures of Success

  • Increased majors and degrees awarded in the Jackson School Bachelor of Science in Geological Sciences Option V: Teaching.
  • Increased Jackson School geoscience instruction at two-year colleges, Tribal Colleges, MSIs, HSIs, and HBCUs.
  • Increased recognition as a national leader in Next Generation Science Standards aligned with geoscience education professional development.
  • Increased contribution to the future of undergraduate geoscience education.
  • Increased national recognition of the Jackson School for innovation in geoscience education.